University of Hong Kong researchers have developed a radical new lightweight material that could replace traditional bulky, heavy motors or actuators in robots, medical devices, prosthetic muscles, exoskeletons, microrobots, and other types of devices.
The new actuating material — nickel hydroxide-oxyhydroxide — can be instantly triggered and wirelessly powered by low-intensity visible light or electricity at relatively low intensity. It can exert a force of up to 3000 times its own weight — producing stress and speed comparable to mammalian skeletal muscles, according to the researchers.
The material is also responsive to heat and humidity changes, which could allow autonomous machines to harness tiny energy changes in the environment.
The major component is nickel, so the material cost is low, and fabrication uses a simple electrodeposition process, allowing for scaling up and manufacture in industry.
Developing actuating materials was identified as one of “The grand challenges of Science Robotics” to “deeply root robotics research in science while developing novel robotic platforms that will enable new scientific discoveries.”
from Kurzweil https://ift.tt/2KvbwiT